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Seeing in Believing

Parsha Re'eh (Deut.11:26-16:17) is a call for Israel to see (re-eh) the "...the Blessing and the Curse set before them." Re'eh can also rendered as observe which is very much the theme of the this Torah portion wherein the Jewish people are commanded to observe and choose the correct path. The nation is commanded to observe the three annual festivals, including Pesach, when, “God brought you out of Egypt at night.” But Numbers 33:3 records they departed during the day, after the Pesach offering, “…before all the eyes of the Egyptians.” Is this a contradiction?

It is clearly not a contradiction. Rav Kook states that the Exodus came on the heels of 10th Plague, which occurred at midnight. Pharaoh begged Moses to leave immediately! With that official appeal, the Exodus began that night and continued into the daylight hours as the Egyptians witnessed the triumphant departure of the 12 Tribes, after 210 years of Exile.

Rav Kook further explains that the Geulah (Redemption) is unfolding in the same manner, the Darkness of the Exile beings to fade, culminating in the full-blown light of a Redemption, seen by the entire world.

Re'eh is all about seeing, not just passively watching but being an active witness of the Torah. Total Observance of Torah can only exist with Israel’s complete possession of the Land, to the extent that all Jews are in the Land seeing it daily. That will eventually come with when the land is fit for the Holy Temple. Parshat Re’eh offers a vision of what Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch calls “The pinnacle of worship,” which he defines as, “...feasting and joy of life in the presence of God, in His Sanctuary.”

The Temple is the true mission of Israel--a mission that will unite the Jewish People. And Jewish unity will save the world. At the conclusion of this Torah portion, Israel is instructed to observe the three annual pilgrimage feasts that brings the nation to Jerusalem to be seen by the Creator at the site of the Akeidah ( Offering of Isaac) where Avraham Avinu proclaimed in Genesis 22:14-18 that the Creator, “...will be Seen." May we merit to See it in our day.

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